Centre Puts RAF Based near Maharashtra on Standby for Possible Swift Deployment in Mumbai, Other Areas

The Centre has asked CRPF to keep its Rapid Action Force (RAF) wing currently placed close to Maharashtra on standby amid the developing situation in Mumbai and some other parts of the state due to the political flux.

Top-level sources confirmed to News18 that the RAF has been asked to be ready at short notice. The message has been sent to battalions that have bases close to Maharashtra.

They also said that a message has been sent to three battalions of the Rapid Action Force to keep troops on standby so that if required, they can be sent to Maharashtra to maintain law and order. However, no directive for deployment has been issued so far, added the sources.

It is also expected that the Centre may deploy additional forces if required to ensure peace in Maharashtra.

The developments come even as, sources say, rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, party MLAs, and independents, who were sitting in Guwahati, are likely to come to Mumbai on Thursday.

The revolt in the Sena, which heads the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, has pushed the three-party ruling coalition, which also consists of the NCP and the Congress, into a deep crisis. Observers say Shinde is likely to join hands with the BJP to replace the Uddhav Thackeray-led government.

Sources in the home ministry said that the central government is keeping an eye on the situation in the state and appropriate steps will be taken as per the requirement and necessity.

RAF troops are already deployed in Mumbai which remain at the disposal of local police, sources said.

Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had on Sunday written to union home secretary Ajay Bhalla regarding the security of MLAs camping with Shinde and requested that adequate provision for central security forces be made and kept ready for them and their families in case the situation demands it.

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